Sunday, 16 August 2020

Uruguay Place Names Explained

Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time I cast my net a little wider. As English place names share some links to other tongues it would be interesting to see if any of the elements contributing to our place names could be found elsewhere. Continuing an alphabetical tour of the world and a look at the largest Uruguayan cities.

Montevideo has several explanations, all agreeing the monte or 'hill' refers to that seen across the bay which shares the Montevideo name. Here opinions divide and we find everything from monte vide eu 'I saw a mount' to monte Ovidio 'the hill of Santo Vidio'. Saint Ovidius was a former Portuguese Bishop of Braga.

Florida in Uruguay has the same origin and meaning as its more famous namesake in the USA, it's the Spanish for 'flowers'.

Barros Blancos tanslates as 'white mud' and was the original name until 1976 when renamed Juan Antonio Artigas, grandfather of a national hero, but the original name was reinstated in 2007.

Ciudad del Plata translates as 'silver city'.

Treinta y Tres is a name translating as 'thirty-three', a reference to the 33 Orientales who were responsible for Uruguay's independence.

Fray Bentos translates as 'Friar Benedict', a reclusive priest.

Trinidad is the Spanish for 'trinity'.

La Paz is the Spanish for 'peace'.

Canelones derives its name from a kind of cinnamon which grows locally.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.

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